When I put together my 101 Things in 1001 Days list back in 2007, I included doing a "fun run" as the sort of end point to a series of running goals. At the time I was running a couple of miles fairly regularly, but not taxing myself. Other running goals on my list were Couch to 5K (which I could never quite get the hang of…too much structure), run 10 miles a week for 5 weeks (which wasn’t too hard after I managed to run 3-4 miles in a row), and interval training 3x a week for 5 weeks (pushing my pace seems to result in a unhappy joints, especially doing it for five weeks in a row). I was interested in testing my limits as much as simply providing things to do that would burn calories. Doing a fun run  would be a gut-check. Could become a confident enough runner to do a public run? (Granted, what I lack in confidence I make up in obliviousness. I am certain I would not want to see a video of myself playing ultimate during 2001-2007.)

Yesterday, I ran the Skirt Chaser 5K. I didn’t do it last year mostly due to fitness considerations. I hadn’t run at all in January 2009 according to RunLogger. From journal entries, it doesn’t sound like I was doing much else either. In the interim, I’d seen Skirt Chaser shirts and skirts and been a little envious. Considering that people I knew were doing it this time, I took the opportunity even if I hadn’t been running much this year either.

Per my advisement, Casey and Reif parked by my apartment and we’d took the light rail to quite-near Tempe Beach Park. Once there, we met with Laura, Josh, and Jeff (our cheering section/holder-of-stuff (And stuff there was. I didn’t remember that the fare kiosks gave change in the form of dollar coins and therefore didn’t warn Reif before he received $13 in non-runner-friendly currency.)). Much to my relief, this plan worked well. I was also very happy to have Laura there, considering the women’s start time was 3 minutes before the men. As a race veteran, Laura dragged me with her to near to front of the pack and was generally a reassuring presence.

As for the race itself, the experience wasn’t as I expected it to be. I’m used to saying, "I’m going for a run" and going. No waiting in line for a tracking chip or for the race to start amid other antsy people. As soon as the race did start, I was thirsty, needed to use a restroom, and most annoyingly, my shoes felt too loose. Running with people wasn’t as energizing for me, mainly because I was concerned that I was going to overpace myself. The course was nice, though again I was distracted by how I was doing that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have if I were running on my own. I slowed to a walk a couple of times to change my music and after the substantial hill about a mile in. I didn’t think I did very well and was tired enough to not think of looking at my time at the finish line. I was hoping for better than 30 minutes and figured I did about 29. (The results were posted this morning and I managed better than I thought: 27:39. Not the best 5K I’ve ever done, but decent for me. I crossed the finish line 241st (or with the 354th best time, if you subtract out the men’s 3min. penalty) (or 15th among women age 35-39).)

Post-run festivities included music and free beer which were loud and not that tasty. After Josh, Laura and Jeff took their leave, Casey, Reif and I adjourned to Rula Bula, a downtown Tempe establishment that I had heard about but never been to. Much better beer and atmosphere more conducive to conversations about television, movies, ultimate drama and lack of drug usage.

In all, a good experience, but made so by the people involved. Due to that, I’m really glad I didn’t do it last year.

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